When Police Reports Are Challenged

Two recent news stories underline the importance of effective report writing. (Academy instructors may want to discuss these cases with their classes.)

On June 21, police in Daytona Beach, Florida, removed seven children from a filthy apartment and charged the two mothers with one count of felony child abuse. You can read more about the case here: http://theledger.com/news/20170622/7-children-removed-from-filthy-apartment-2-moms-charged

In his report, Officer James Thomas wrote: “Immediately upon entering the apartment, I noticed an infant running barefoot on carpet that was supposed to be brown in color but was matted, thick, clumpy, and covered wall to wall with black mold.”

The report also noted:

  • the smell was so pungent that it burned his eyes, and he had to wash them afterwards
  • fleas were everywhere
  • the only food was an open jar of jelly, a small jar of peanut butter, and a jar of mayonnaise
  • the only furniture was two broken chairs
  • the children were lying on a “severely stained” mattress and wearing dirty diapers
  • the unflushed toilet was filthy with urine, feces, and soiled paper
  • there were no signs of “anything related to child care”

Officer Thomas took photographs of the children and their surroundings.

Melinda Jenkins, mother of two of the children, argued that “everything…was false in that report.” She said the apartment management was responsible for the filth, and she and her sister were in the process of moving.

The other police report concerned actor Miles Teller, who recently appeared in the boxing movie Bleed for This. Teller was arrested for public drunkenness. On June 19 Teller challenged the arrest report with this Tweet:”Went down to SD to see my buddy before he deployed. I wasn’t arrested I was detained bc there was no evidence to charge me with a crime.” You can read more at this link: https://usat.ly/2tG6MOD.

The police report tells a different story: Officer Billy Hernandez wrote that Teller was “swaying side to side, slurring his speech and had bloodshot eyes.” At one point Teller “lost his balance and almost fell into the street.” Police officers arrested Teller and transported him to a detox center.

Police statements quoted in both newspaper stories show that the investigating officers were thorough, objective, and detailed.

Whose accounts do you think are more believable: Police – or the three people who were arrested?

My money is on the police officers.

   Miles Teller in “Bleed for This”

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